Our thinking aligns with the EEF’s submission on the need to ‘make further progress on existing areas of reform which can influence manufacturers’ current and future investment plans, these include skills funding and infrastructure investment’, something that we at British Glass also feel is imperative.The economy has continued to recover and even grow in the last year, but it is crucial for the Government to maintain focus on the areas which drive growth and encourage manufacturers to commit to investing in the UK.InfrastructureNick Clegg has been very clear in setting out his Northern Futures vision – for this to succeed, the transport infrastructure needs to be upgraded and for a devolution of spending power to be put in place to allow the northern cities to make these changes.Improvements to the road network should also be progressed from the scoping stage to the government setting out implementation plans.We hope the government will continue to invest in infrastructure to enable key economic routes to be fully opened up so that industry can benefit from improved links and devolution to promote local growth.InnovationWe welcomed the increase in Innovate UK’s budget in the Spending Review, however, to compete on the global stage, the UK must invest further, for example, through the Catapult network or similar initiatives which support manufacturers and the collaboration between sectors and organisations.We also agree with the CBI’s recommendation for Government to encourage innovation and enterprise by ‘reforming the outdated business rates system, which is a disincentive to company expansion, alongside expanding the R&D tax credit to encourage development, as well as research activity in the UK’Managing punitive taxation will improve and ease access to financial support and furthermore, increasing R&D tax credit relief will enable businesses, particularly SMEs, to invest in the development, commercialisation and manufacture of their ideas.Energy Intensive IndustriesThe cost, security and supply of energy in the UK remains a serious challenge for UK industry, particularly energy intensive users such as the glass industry.The extension of the Energy Intensive Industries (EII) compensation scheme which was announced in the Budget in March 2014 was greatly appreciated but we believe this should be brought forward as early as possible to reduce the time that EIIs are exposed to the current costs.
Concerns also remain about the ineligibility of certain EII sectors to qualify for the compensation package and we would request that Government looks to widen the compensation package in terms of the scale, scope and budget, to fully compensate all EIIs from the costs of the Carbon Floor and Renewable Energy Schemes.
We would also urge Government to consider Compensation for the impact of Renewable Subsidies. In contrast with established practice elsewhere in the EU, no compensation or exemption has yet been proposed for the mounting impact of the Renewables Obligation and the Feed in Tariff for small scale renewables on UK EIIs (Energy Intensive Industries). Another tax to pay!
We look forward to seeing what measures the Chancellor sets out in his Autumn Statement and hope to see him addressing the issues we have highlighted to ensure the growth of the glass industry in the UK.